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Thread: Deep sky objects

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    Default Deep sky objects



    Hi everyone, I am new to telescopes and astronomy in general. I have a 8" skyquest and was wondering how to spot deep sky objects(nebula etc.) I have the starry night software that shows the location, but I cannot seem to spot them yet! I have had success with jupiter and our moon. Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    Well there are a few way maybe this will help. First find an object you want to find on that program. Pick one in a constellation you can find that is not close the the horizon or near the moon if it is up. Then focus on where it is compaired to the stars of that constellation. Next try to aim your scope in that area. From there take you widest feild eyepiece and scan. I use very short left to right movements taking it slow then move up or down just a little and do the left then right again. Make sure you take your time since you might skip over it not knowing. Depending on your light pollution and what object you are hunting will affect how visible it is. Some I have found they stand out if you are in a dark location. If you are able to see Sagittarius it I a nice area with lots to check out. If you can see the milky way without a telescope just slowly work your way around it making left to right movements move up or down and start it over. Just take your time and focus move it some look for a second move. 47 tuc/ NGC 104 should be a bright one for you since you are in the southern hemisphere. If you can see Orion the nebula is really easy to find also. To find it take where the belt is and the 2 stars that make his legs there should be two stars that are fairly bright inside that little box it is right there and is by far one of the brightest nebula to find.
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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    I assume your scope is a manual rather than a goto.

    This might seem strange advice but i suggest it will not disappoint. If you buy a book like Philips - Stargazing with binoculars you will get lists of the more obvious DSOs and sketches on how and where to find them. The advantage you will have is that they will all be achievable with your scope - book authors are always notoriously optimistic. You will find that half the targets in a small telescope book are extremely diffiicult. Only when you have had some success would I then invest in a more serious detailed guide like Turn left at Orion which will guide you to many more targets.
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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    Thanks guys, will attempt these ideas. I live in suburb with plenty of light pollution from our modest city(Durban,South Africa). going to dark skies at night is not always safe, unless in numbers, so most of my viewing to date has been backyard. we have had much rain and cloud about so viewing has been scant. will hope to try again tonight. Altough we may be a bit tired! we were up till 02h30 last night! but it was worth it!
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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    Sorry forgot to mention I only have the 22mm eyepiece supplied with my scope!! it is expensive here in good old SA! any ideas on upgrades? I am considering a 16mm ? yes no?

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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    and yes its a manual skyquest XT8 classic dobsonian mount, no go to! hence the silly questions!

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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    No silly questions here. I would encourage you to follow the advice of Streetrodder and pushrod. Start from the constellations and work in to an object. I began with the Starry Night program, planisphere and binoculars. Your 8" will be great and the 22 mm will be plenty to start. I spent about 3 hrs out last night and spent 90% of my time with the 25 mm on the XT8g. Pick easier objects to start and limit the number of targets. Early in the evening look for the Double Cluster and later Pleiades. The later is a naked eye object and you should be able to get it in your finderscope. It looks even better in binoculars.

    Keep at it and good luck.
    pb2au


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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    you could also try setting circles for your dob. i made a degree ring for my last dob and applied it too the base to allow it to be aligned to north and rotated to any degree on that axis az, i used a magnetic electronic level on the tube to find degrees alt. just use a laptop or cell phone app with a decent star program like stellarium or skysafari and get real time alt az degree info on your target, slew the scope to match and now you have a low dollar push too system for your dob. i found that i could locate an object within the ep fov more often than not that way, and if not it was very close and easy to scan around and find the object just a hair off axis. the more you learn the sky the less you would need to refer to that, though its a very positive way to get a difficult object in the ep.
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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    Quote Originally Posted by kingclinton View Post
    Sorry forgot to mention I only have the 22mm eyepiece supplied with my scope!! it is expensive here in good old SA! any ideas on upgrades? I am considering a 16mm ? yes no?
    When searching for faint fuzzies (DSOs) wide fields of view are usually more useful than higher mags. Often the eyepieces supplied by the manufacturer are the best mags available for the scope but they are relatively cheap with fairly small apparent field of views around 50degrees. I would be more tempted to go for a lower mag like a 24 mm but in a better quality make , maybe something like a baader hyperion with a 68 degree fov, this will result in a better, brighter and much larger field of view. Finding DSOs will then be considerably easier.

    I suggest hyperions as i know from first hand experience that they are good, unfortunately they are relatively expensive. The good thing about expensive EP's though is that when you get another scope, and maybe sell that one, you can still keep the EP for your next scope. They also retain their value quite well on the 2nd hand market. Others might be able to suggest other good makes of EP that won't break the bank
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    Default Re: Deep sky objects

    So your learning to Drive a Stick vice a Automatic! I use several different tools to locate DSO items. First I have the books listed in my signature which are ALWAYS a great help. I then use my iphone app, Skysafari Plus, or I used to use my laptop with Stellarium loaded on it. I have a Telrad installed on my XT8 replacing the old Red dot finder. I also have a 32MM Q70 eyepieces with wide angle views.

    How does this all work together? Well I look up my objects I want to view this night in the books and make a custom list in Skysafari on my iphone. I then set up everything and ensure my Telrad is aligned. I use Skysafari with the Telrad option turned on (Stellarium also has this) and start starhopping my way to the target. Once I believe my scope is in the area based off the telrad and software, I then place my 32MM wide angle EP in and start slowly scanning, within 10-20 seconds you should have your object in place (sometimes you can nail it spot on). You can also do the method of setting circles and using the computer programs to get the updated coordinates to point at, I sometimes do this- but prefer to use the telrad.

    If you dont have a laptop/smartphone you can also buy Sky&Telescope's Pocket Star Atlas- The thing I like about this is, it has a Telrad Printed scale inside the front cover. I took a clear piece of heavy flexable plastic from a Office Folder and cut it about the size of a book marker. I then took a fine tip permenant marker and traced the Telrad scale on the front cover on to the plastic. Now I have a useable scale/bookmarker to use on each page to know where to place my telrad for each target in the Atlas. Works like a champ- still need batteries for your redlense flashlight to read the charts though.

    I used Skysafari/Telrad/32MM EP last night to track down a bunch of objects- M52/Delta Cephei/NGC 7789/M103/NGC 457/NGC 869/M15/Blue Snowball Neb/M2/ I then spent sometime with Jupiter with the moons all lined in a row, pretty cool. I was out for about a hour and a half last night.

    Keep at it and dont lose faith learning your way around the night sky- but it does help to have some tools to get you going.
    Tim
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